This veterinarian whips around Okotoks on a scooter pulled by her whippet

·4 min read
Fitz, the two-year-old whippet, loves to run, says his owner, Dr. Miranda Logan, a Calgary veterinarian. (Submitted by Miranda Logan - image credit)
Fitz, the two-year-old whippet, loves to run, says his owner, Dr. Miranda Logan, a Calgary veterinarian. (Submitted by Miranda Logan - image credit)

Miranda Logan hates to exercise. She will tell you this, no hesitation.

But when she found Fitz, her now two-year-old whippet, she knew she had to find a way to get him proper exercise.

Whippets look like greyhounds, but smaller. Like greyhounds, they love to run and are known for their speed.

Logan tried canicross, which is a form of running using specialized equipment that allows your dog to help pull you along.

"Then last summer, I started seeing this mushing they can do in these like special scooters that you can go around," she said in an interview on the Calgary Eyeopener.

"They have brakes. These are not the e-scooters. This is like bigger wheels, slightly rougher terrain."

Because of pandemic delays, it took Logan a while to get her hands on one of the scooters. She also had to purchase a harness and a special attachment for Fitz's leash so it wouldn't get caught in the wheels.

Submitted by Miranda Logan
Submitted by Miranda Logan

"I started doing it this spring and it was terrifying. I'm not going to lie," she said.

"He just takes his love of running to the next level, and he gets the most incredible expressions when we're running. He hates to be interrupted. He just wants to go and he just loves it."

She's had her mishaps, including a full face-plant when first trying out the device.

But for her and Fitz, it works. He can run as fast as he wants — sometimes up to 34 kilometres per hour, according to her app — without being slowed down by her pace. It's worth noting, at a sprinters competition, she discovered he could actually run about 50 km/h without any restraints.

"I can only run so fast so far before I feel like I'm going to die, whereas with a scooter, I can go as long as kind of he would want," she said.

"It likely looks a little bit crazy, to put it mildly, having a whippet drag you around all of Okotoks."

Little Brown Horse Photography
Little Brown Horse Photography

Logan is also a veterinarian in Okotoks. She says she has trained Fitz as an athlete, and all of the equipment is specially chosen with his safety in mind.

"The harness is well padded so there are no points of contact that would be irritating to him. The scooter is … designed to be lightweight and for an urban setting," she said.

And each time they go out, Fitz is always eager to get running again the next day.

Claire Jardine takes her two Labrador retrievers to see Logan for medical appointments and says she's an "incredible" vet.

Still, she had to do a double take when she saw the duo out running in Okotoks.

"It's insane. She's crazy. It's so fast, and the dog looks like he's having so much fun," she said. "He is just going full force, and there's Miranda on a scooter with a great big smile on her face, holding on for dear life."

There doesn't appear to be a bylaw in Okotoks that prevents Logan and Fitz's occasional sprints.

An Okotoks spokesperson said it's hard to say whether the activity violates any municipal or provincial laws. They said municipal enforcement would have to see Logan and Fitz in action before making any determinations.

In Calgary, though, a similar activity would be against the Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw, which prohibits owners from operating a "bicycle, e-bicycle, skateboard, roller-skates, scooter, e-scooter, Segway, or other similar vehicle on a pathway, with any animal on a leash," unless the device is designed for someone with a disability.

Little Brown Horse Photography
Little Brown Horse Photography

Logan says she does try to make the activity as safe as possible, picking low traffic areas for the runs and ensuring no one is coming either way before she starts. When she does see other people or pets, she and Fitz move off to the side.

The brakes are also key for her own safety, she says.

"[Fitz] just wants to run, and the look of joy on his face … it makes it worth all the possible physical trauma that could happen to me. More than worth it," she said.